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May. 7th, 2005

The weather has been acting strangely this week, from almost thirty degrees on Monday and Tuesday (I don't really like temperatures this high, but even I was basking in the sudden warmth) to twelve degrees and an icy western wind yesterday. It's a lovely spring, though. Maybe it's the camera that makes me more attentive to my surroundings and the changes in nature, even when I don't take it along, maybe it's the morning runs, although they're rather infrequent at the moment, maybe it's that I'm in a different mindset, but I don't remember ever experiencing spring so intensely. Almost frighteningly beautiful at times.

Tuesday, scent of lilac and smell of rain on sun-warmed concrete.

Managed a morning run today, and ran for an hour or so on Wednesday after taking care of the horse, which was unexpectedly exhausting what with all the uphill - downhill in the Wienerwald.

Went to see the Magritte exhibition on Thursday; not that I'm a particular fan, but I had the vague hope that seeing the actual paintings might make a difference, as it certainly did with Tamara de Lempicka. Plus, I'm trying to broaden my horizons. Was neither especially touched or intrigued, though. Perhaps part of the problem is that Magritte is one of those artists whose paintings are so popular that it's near-impossible to look at them with a fresh eye...

I liked two of the paintings with birds growing out of plants (The Companions of Fear, Natural Graces), and a very simple one with a paper-cut figure, but the rest... meh. Not my cup of tea.

The only thing I found intriguing on a intellectual level is when he addresses the inherent illusionism of painting, ('ceci n'est pas une pipe') because this seems to reflect Plato's issues with illusionist painting, and his reservations about art in general...

Also made a birthday cake for H., which resulted in some slight temporary awkwardness, he being M.(-at-work)'s boyfriend, and she not being much inclined to bake cakes herself. But he hangs around so often, and when I hear 'birthday' I reflexively offer cake, without thinking much about it. But, cake, and everyone liked it, and ate a second piece, so in the end it was all right, I think. (Photos curtsy H., because I'm not that self-involved, even though in this case I'll abandon all pretense at modesty and say that it was a really good cake. Really very good. Even though that's more due to the cook-book than my amazing baking skills, but anyway.)

On an entirely unrelated note, I finally figured out why I could never really get into Stargate, either SG-1, or (as it turns out) Atlantis, even though I enjoy the fanfic quite a lot. I kept thinking it was the Däniken-esque premise that offended me professionally (ex-professionally, whatever), but watching SGA The Defiant One last Wednesday I finally realised the problem was a different one. Neither show has character arcs that include emotional developments, neither deals with the aftershocks of a crisis, the emotional fallout, except in a very rudimentary fashion, leaving entirely too many blank spaces for fanfic ones imagination to fill.

Now I'm all for understatement and show-don't-tell, instead of endless gushing and proclamations and spelling out things to the last detail, but there's such a thing as too minimalist, there's a point where it diminishes realism, the credibility of characters and the possible emotional impact of a show by creating an emotional safety-net. Wraith blown up, day saved, McKay gets to drive the jumper, The End. Never mind the guy who shot himself in front of McKay so that he could go and rescue Sheppard. I already sort-of noticed this tendency in The Storm / The Eye, which have some good moments, pushing the characters to extremes (sometime I'll have to talk about my guilty fascination for competent wielding of big guns), but whose light, half-humorous ending immediately after they all barely escaped with their lives struck me as jarring and lacking realism, as far as such a thing can be said for a SF TV show anyway.

Things never go too wrong, which makes a show a little boring after a while, and impossible for me to get emotionally involved.

Now on the other hand B5 never lets anyone get away with anything without dealing with the consequences, personal and/or political; whole character arcs are build around this, the main theme of the show is quest for self-knowledge. Both Buffy and Angel are all about actions and their consequences, redemption, forgiveness, doing the right thing, to the point of occasionally being a little over-moralistic for my taste, especially in the case of Buffy; with Angel the moral lines are a lot blurrier, but people still don't get to escape from the consequences of their actions...


solitary summer

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